Great story by Aram, I’ve said it many times, put Veronica Ramirez on any team in the Valley, and she’s still a star. But give her credit, she stayed home and made the most of it.
By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
Veronica Ramirez had options before deciding to stay home and attend Azusa High School before her freshman year. Now a senior, the multi-talented softball standout mostly has flown under the radar for the past four years while her travel ball teammates have gotten far more notoriety playing for schools more well-known for softball.
At this point of the season, each pitch Ramirez throws may be her last and each swing of the bat may be her final in an Aztecs uniform. But the hometown girl with gaudy statistics isn’t having any regrets. (To continue, click thread)
“I’m fine here,” Ramirez said. “I feel like I have to win to keep myself known as a good player. I knew that was going to be the deal here, but I went to Azusa because it’s closer to my home and my older brother came here, too. If I went to another school, I’d have no way of getting there.”
Being the big fish in a small pond means dealing with the pressure that comes with it. It’s no surprise Azusa’s success typically runs through Ramirez.
Today, that means relying on her to handle business in the circle and at the plate against visiting Savanna of Anaheim in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
“Sometimes, I have to feel like I have to strike everybody out,” Ramirez said. “People look at me like I should carry my team and win every game.”
The pressure has led to some impressive numbers. She’s struck out 103 hitters in 73 innings en route to winning seven games. She’s also hitting .536 with three home runs, 33 RBIs and 37 runs scored.
“She dominates in hitting and everything,” Azusa coach Lisa Montes said. “I think her hitting and pitching are probably equal.
“I’ve always told her that.”
Azusa enters today’s game 15-7-1 after beating Mary Star of the Sea in the first round of the playoffs last week.
Despite their success to this point, the Aztecs were not the talk of the Montview League this season. That honor went to league champ Duarte, which split with Azusa but finished a game ahead in the standings.
Despite not winning league, Ramirez looks like a good bet to repeat as the league’s MVP. And for those thinking her dominance is explained away by the fact she’s a travel-ball player going up against a league with precious few of them, Ramirez pointed out she’s actually a stronger hitter against the better competition she sees in travel ball.
“The slow pitching is harder for me,” Ramirez said. “It’s more difficult to hit. It’s really hard to judge.”
Ramirez will continue her softball career next season at Citrus College. She had offers to play out of state, but prefers to stay local and hopefully get picked up after two seasons of junior college ball.
But before it’s over at Azusa, Ramirez wants to take her team one round further in the postseason than it’s been in her four-year career and, in the process, make up for not winning league.
“We didn’t win league, which was disappointing, so I’m just hoping that CIF will be different,” Ramirez said. “I expect (Savanna) will be better hitters, so I hope my defense is ready. And the pitching is going to be a lot faster.”